Coke Zero 400: Where they finishedJuly 6, 2014 No Comments
By Mark Schafer
The race was rain-shortened, and for the first time in the 21st century the No. 43 car is heading to victory lane in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race.
Rain delayed the race three times, once on Saturday when the race was scheduled to be ran, then twice again on Sunday, when the race was finally called off after just 112 of the scheduled 16o laps.
Aric Almirola won the race after making a pass on Kurt Busch for the final lead change of the race.
The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports car is the most famous of all the stock cars, after the King Richard Petty, won a majority of his 200 races in a No. 43 car.
Almirola won the race, and here is a look at how the rest of the field finished in the marathon Coke Zero 400 weekend.
1. Aric Almirola – Almirola scored his first career victory at the Daytona July race, after staying ahead of trouble that happened on the racetrack. Almirola led the race twice for a total of 14 laps. Finding himself in the right spot at the right time helped Almirola escape down pit road on the first multi-car wreck of the day and then getting ahead of the second 21-car pileup later on in the race.
2. Brian Vickers – Vickers seemed to have an invincibility shield around his car in the race. After starting in the back, he was able to stay far behind trouble in the first wreck. In the second wreck of the day, Vickers found a path amongst the wreckage to survive without a scratch. After making his way to the front, Vickers was working on taking the lead, when the last caution flag ended the race.
3. Kurt Busch – Busch was near the front all day, as he continues to seek his first points-paying restrictor plate race win. Ending the day with the most laps led at 36 laps Busch will escape with a great points day, but a dash of disappointment as he has to wonder what could have been if the race were to go back green.
4. Casey Mears – Benefiting from the rain-shortened qualifying session, Maears found himself up front for most of the race. Although he pitted off sequence early on in the race, which appeared to threaten his good run early on, a caution caught Mears back up with the field, where he was able to find the fast line and break away from the trouble that was behind him. Mears was even able to lead the field for one lap.
5. Austin Dillon – A daring full-speed blast through the middle of the track while carnage was sliding down around him, Dillon was able to save his run with that move. Dillon had spent most of the day buried deep in the pack. However when the 21-car pile up unfolded around him on lap 98, Dillon blasted full-speed through the wreck with little to no damage. The move brought Dillon to the front of the pack and in contention to win the race.
6. Denny Hamlin – Hamlin was involved in the 12 car pile-up on lap 20 when he went through the infield grass in the tri-oval. However after that little scuffle, the most recent Talladega race winner ran a clear race and was able to fight his way to the fronnt of the pack. Being in the wrong line at the time of the caution cut off his guaranteed top-5 run.
7. Michael McDowell – Plate races are often times when smaller teams can step up to the plate and show off what their drivers can do when running in a big pack. McDowell was able to prove that in the pack he is just as good as any driver on Sunday. Despite starting in the back, McDowell moved his way to the front and stayed out of trouble to record a top-10 finish.
8. Danica Patrick – Although brakes are not normally needed more than a few times a race at Daytona, it was Patrick’s brakes that saved her on Sunday afternoon. When the big 21-car pile up unfolded on lap 98, Patrick was heavy on the brakes avoiding all of the damage. From there Patrick found the fast line and stayed in for a top-10 finish.
9. Clint Bowyer – Bowyer said that his car almost took a “hospital hop” when he took a wild ride through the infield grass in turn three. Although he was a part of the 21-car pile-up on lap 98, Bowyer was able to have luck keep his car tires down and continue his slide through the turn three grass. After getting his car pointed in the right direction, Bowyer made his way up through the field, before stalling out at ninth when the caution flag flew.
10. Marcos Ambrose – His car may have been held together by tape, but Ambrose was able to hold on to a top-10 finish in the race. After being punted from the bottom of the track to pit road during the lap 20 wreck, Ambrose’s team was able to make repairs and get his car running again without losing a lap. From there Ambrose cautiously worked his way to the front of the field.
11. Terry Labonte – One of the very few cars to escape the long Daytona weekend without a scratch, Labonte used the strategy of starting in the back and staying in the back to avoid both of the wrecks. From there Labonte was mixing it up in the draft. When the rains came, Labonte was found just shy of the top-10.
12. Jeff Gordon – Gordon was heavily damaged in both wrecks in Sunday’s race. In lap 20′s wreck, Gordon made contact with the wall and another car. His team brought the car down pit road, patched it up and sent him back out on track. In lap 98′s wreck Gordon once again found himself in the wreck as he made contact with a few other cars. Things we repairable though and Gordon got back on track to finish in the top-15.
13. Alex Bowman – Bowman was able to keep his car clean today, although he was involved in the lap 98 accident, the damage was minor and he returned to the track. After making a pit stop to get his car repaired, Boweman returned to the track where he touched the top-10, but then the draft shuffled him to 13th.
14. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – A lot of eyes, as usual were on Earnhardt Jr’s car, as he was going for the season sweep of Daytona. Plans for the sweep were delayed when Junior was hit a few times in the lap 20 wreck. Repairs were made to the No. 88 car and he spent most of the next laps a lap down. After getting in position to be the lucky dog driver, Junior was back on the lead lap, but could not move forward to be a factor in the race lead.
15. Martin Truex Jr. – In racing sometimes it is better to be lucky than in the right position at the right spot. Truex Jr. was an example of that on Sunday. A battery issue made Truex Jr. have to pit around lap 100. That pit stop put Truex Jr on track late, and allowing him to avoid the mayhem that unfolded on lap 98. From there Truex Jr bounced in the top-10 until falling back during the last section of racing.
16. Paul Menard – A slide through the mud is probably not the way that Menard planned to spend his day on Sunday, but it ended up happening on the lap 98 wreck. Menard took a detour through the mud and slid to a complete stop with very little damage. From there Menard cautiously drove in the pack until the rain ended the day.
17. Joey Logano – Also involved in the lap 98 wreck, Logano spent time on pit road repairing his car as much as he could and staying out on the lead lap. However as damage was swinging around in every direction and sparks flying from the back of his car, Logano was black flagged to make repairs to his car, but the yellow flag waved before any repairs could make his car safe.
18. Brad Keselowski – Lap 20 destroyed Keselowski’s run for two wins in a row, and it also destroyed his car. The front splitter was torn off, and the car was a handful. Repairs to the hood section of the No. 2 Ford made it aerodynmaic, but Keselowski was still one lap down, where he finished the race.
19. Michael Waltrip – Being stuck in the back of the pack put Waltrip in peril early as he couldn’t avoid the lap 20 wreck. From there the team made repairs to the car as often as they could trying to put speed back into the No. 66 machine. From there Waltrip stayed out of trouble as much as possible.
20. Matt Kenseth – One of the many drivers that was involved in both wrecks on Sunday, Kenseth was hit several times by other cars. Kenseth and his team made repairs as fast as possible, but he still fell a lap down. The day had started off well for Kenseth as he paced the pack early on for 12 laps at the drop of the green flag, before trouble found him.
21. Michael Annett – Despite starting in 32nd position Annett was able to get out to the front of the pack to lead the field for two laps. Things came to a jolting stop when Annett was involved in a wreck on lap 98. His team was able to repair the car, but Annett was only able to complete six more laps before the rains came out.
22. David Ragan – A promising run for the Front Row Motorsports driver included him pacing the field twice for a total of seven laps. However that promising run ended when he was involved in the lap 98 crash. His team made repairs to the car to complete two more laps, but he ultimately had to return to the pits when the rain ended the race.
23. Josh Wise – One of the 20 plus cars that was wrecked on lap 98. Wise and his team made repairs and he was able to finish the race on the track, but only after he completed two more circuits of the track.
24. Ryan Newman – Also involved in the lap 98 wreck the No. 31 RCR Chevrolet was the last driver that was able to complete laps on the day before the rains came. Newman was able to stay in the middle of the pack for most of the day, but that hurt him when the wreck broke out on lap 98.
25. Justin Allgaier – Allgaier had a brief stint in the top-10 just after the halfway mark of the race. From there Allgaier was doing his best to find the best line to draft in. That startegy kept him in the top-15 until lap 98. With nowhere to go Allgaier was caught up in the wreck and ended his day in the garage.
26. Bobby Labonte – Making his second start of the year, Labonte was running soildly in the top-10 for most of the first half of the race. From there a series of pit stops sent him to the back of the pack, where he had no where to go when wreckage broke out along the race.
27. Kasey Kahne – Kahne was the major player in the wreck that started on lap 98 and ended his day. After getting spun after a off center bump draft from Greg Biffle, Kahne, who was running in the sixth position when he spun across both lines of drafting, stacking everyone up and tearing up a lot of cars.
28. Kyle Busch – Busch described his day as a slow carnival ride. He said that because his day ended up upside down in one of the slowest roll in NASCAR history. After being involved in the lap 98 wreck Busch came to a stop sideways on the track, when he was hit by Cole Whitt in the side, tumbling Busch’s car onto its roof.
29. Greg Biffle – Biffle saw a great day come to an ambrubt end when he was involved and helped start the lap 98 wreck. Biffle was bumped from behind into Kahne, but the bump was off center, sending Kahne sideways, and triggering the wreck. Prior to that Biffle had led the field twice for a total of nine laps.
30. Jamie McMurray – No driver wants their car to have all four wheels leave the ground, but that is how McMurray’s day ended. When he was involved in the lap 98 wreck his car went sideways and was briefly air borne as his car flew from the apron of the track to the outside wall. However he was un-harmed, although his car was destroyed. Before the wreck McMurray led the field twice for 11 laps.
31. Landon Cassill – Despite being in a car that struggles for funding from race to race, Cassill was able to make the best out of his day leading the field twice for five laps. However the day ended with several other drivers’ on the 98th lap along the backstretch.
32. Ryan Truex – Truex has having a quiet top-25 run in the draft during the day. Things were going according to plan, when he had nowhere to go on lap 98 which ended his day.
33. Reed Sorenson – After starting the race in secon place, Sorenson had his chance to lead the race early on as he was the leader for four laps. From there Sorenson fell back into the pack during the race. That spelled the end of the race for Sorenson as he could not avoid the lap 98 wreck.
34. Cole Whitt – Whitt slid into Kyle Busch to send him toppling over. That also spelled the end of the day for Whitt as he was involved in the lap 98 wreck.
35. David Gilliland – At one point in the race Gilliland had to make his car three or four lanes wide to hold off the pack, as he led from the pole position early on in the race. Gilland led the field twice for five laps in some fancy driving. However his day ended when his car became three to four lanes wide again. After contact with Kahne, Gilliland was send sideways. Gilliland’s car was towed back to the garage and his day finished.
36. Kyle Larson – Involved in both of the major wrecks on Sunday, Larson’s team needed a Target in the infield rather than just as a sticker on their car. Larson mowed the infield grass during the lap 20 wreck, and then saw his day come to a complete stop on lap 98.
37. Carl Edwards – Edwards was close to avoiding the wreck on lap 20, however a car spun in front of him and ended the competitive day for Edwards. From there he was just logging laps.
38. Treor Bayne – Bayne’s day lasted just 20 laps of green flag racing where he was steadily making his way to the front of the pack, then that all changed, when he was sent sideways across the track after being involved in the lap 20 wreck. He returned to the track, but was just logging laps.
39. Kevin Harvick – Usually a factor in most plate racing, Harvick was near the front of the field when his day was cut short on lap 20. The wreck sent Harvick to the garage for most of the day, but he made an appearance on track before the rain ended the day.
40. Tony Stewart – A strong day early on for Stewart had him looking like a contender for the race lead, as he was able to catch the draft and be pushed into the lead for three laps. However after that, Steward was caught in the lap 20 wreck. From there Stewart’s crew made repairs to his No. 14 car, and he returned to the track in time for rain to end the race.
41. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finding his way to the top of the field, Stenhouse was jostling for position when his jostling got a little out of hand and the first wreck of the day was triggered. Stenhouse was involved in the wreck. The No. 17 team made repairs and Stenhouse finished the race running, but it was just for points.
42. Jimmie Johnson – Johnson had no where to go all day. He started off the race stuck in the draft as his line got him near the top of the pack, but then he wasn’t able to crack into the lead. From there Johnson had nowhere to go on lap 20 when he was involved in the wreck. His car was catipulted into the outside wall and he had to retire from the race.
43. A. J. Allmendinger – Allmendinger was the biggest victim of the lap 20 wreck. He had no where to go and was spun into the wall and eventually the infield grass of the tri-oval. From there Allmendinger had nothing to do but climb out of his car and walk back to the garage, where his day ended after 19 laps.Tags: 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season, Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers, Coke Zero 400, Daytona International Speedway, Kurt Busch, Race Results, Richard Petty Motorsports, Unofficial ResultsCoverage